WASHINGTON — First lady Melania Trump criticized the media Tuesday for spending more time on "idle gossip [and] trivial stories" than on coverage of the opioid crisis.
"I challenge the press to devote as much time to the lives lost and the potential lives that could be saved by dedicating the same amount of coverage that you do to idle gossip or trivial stories," Trump said at a Las Vegas town hall held in connection with her "Be Best" effort.
"I wish the media would talk about more and educate more children, also adults, parents, about the opioid crisis that we have in the United States," she told former Fox News host Eric Bolling, who lost his son to an overdose, during a moderated question and answer session later in the event. "They do it already, but I think not enough."
The town hall — the final stop in a three-state swing this week that included events at an Oklahoma school and at Microsoft headquarters in Washington state — marked her first overnight domestic solo tour for the child-focused initiative, which calls for greater civility in social media use, fighting opioid abuse and promoting general well-being.
Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for the first lady, told NBC's TODAY that while the first year of the initiative had been geared toward "learning," the focus moving forward would be on action. "We're going to start looking at possible legislation that might...be something she would want to get on board with," she said.
The first lady's "Be Best" effort has faced criticism in the past over the gap between her message about the importance of being kind and avoiding bullying on social media and President Trump's often combative online persona. Ahead of the tour, Grisham dismissed the complaints.
"One thing doesn't have anything to do with the other, and [the first lady] is focused on helping children," she told CNN over the weekend. "She has said many times that her husband is an adult. He is president of the United States and he knows what he's doing. She's focused on 'Be Best,' focused on helping children."